India's Reliance revenue rises 58% as oil and gas business recovers

By Tanvi Mehta and Vishwadha Chander

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd reported a 58% jump in quarterly revenue on Friday, led by a strong show at its dominant oil and gas business.

India's most valuable company, which operates the world's biggest refining complex at Jamnagar in western India, benefited from a sharp increase in product prices on the back of higher crude prices. Brent prices surged 18.2% in the June quarter due to tight supplies.

"Stronger oil fundamentals, vaccination programs and better demand outlook have resulted in a steady rise in crude prices throughout the first quarter," the company, led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, said in a statement.

Revenue surged to 1.44 trillion rupees, fueled by an over 70% jump in the oil-to-chemicals business.

Consolidated profit, however, fell to 122.73 billion rupees ($1.65 billion) in the quarter ended June 30, from 132.33 billion rupees a year earlier, mainly hit by a rise in tax expenses.

Jio, the company's telecom operations, added 14.3 million customers as of June end, fewer than the 15.4 million in the previous quarter.

The company has used up nearly all airwaves it won, and additional airwaves have been used to create capacity for the next 200 million customers on the network, an executive said on a post-earnings conference call.

Reliance has been diversifying from its core oil and gas business as it focuses on retail and telecoms.

The retail network, which consists of more than 12,000 stores and supermarkets, reported a near 50% drop in footfall in the first quarter from the previous three months as the second wave of COVID-19 ravaged the country.

"COVID-related restrictions on store operations during the quarter impacted our retail business operations and profitability," Chairman Ambani said in a statement.

"This is a temporary phenomenon," he added.

($1 = 74.4560 Indian rupees)

(Additional reporting by Chris Thomas and Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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